Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Roger Livesey 1906-1976

Best known of the Livesey acting brothers, a character star more than a character player, Roger Livesey is most fondly remembered for his screen roles in the films of Michael Powell: The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943, as the hero who ages through three wars), I Know Where I'm Going! (1945 - his most famous romantic role as the laird who teaches Wendy Hiller about life and love) and A Matter of Life and Death (1946, as the benign neurologist-philosopher, Reeves).
Other notable roles include the lead in Peter Ustinov's Vice-Versa (1948), the bogus clergyman in The League of Gentlemen (d. Basil Dearden, 1960), Olivier's father in The Entertainer (d. Tony Richardson, 1960) and the Gravedigger in Hamlet (d. Richardson, 1969).
He made his stage debut in 1917 and was on Broadway in 1936; often teamed on stage with wife Ursula Jeans. His last major role was in The Pallisers (BBC, 1974). His bluff presence and inimitably husky tones made him, perhaps surprisingly, a maturely attractive figure to women.